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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Project Toolkit

Resources and information for Simpson Center-funded project organizers

For Faculty-Led Projects:

  • Sample invitation letter (PDF, Word)

For Graduate Research Clusters:

  • Leadership Expectations: Graduate Research Clusters are designed to be collaborative and crossdisciplinary, and to be open to graduate students across departmental lines. We hope and expect that many students will participate in your GRC events and activities throughout the coming year. Administratively, we require that each group designate one project lead to serve as the liaison between the GRC and the Simpson Center. All queries regarding project budgets, reimbursements, publicity, event planning, and space should come from the GRC leader. If at any point in the year your group needs to appoint a different GRC leader for any reason (the example we have most frequently encountered is a student traveling for a research fellowship) please be in touch with us to do a simple leadership transition; we will update our files to reflect the new information. Please note that purchases of food and payment of other expenses must be made by the GRC leader. We cannot reimburse participants individually for costs related to GRC programming.
  • Room Request Form: GRCs are encouraged to use our spaces for meetings and events. You may reserve CMU 218D, CMU 226, CMU 120 after 3:30 pm on weekdays and the seminar room (CMU 202) and reception room (CMU 204) outside of the typically busy times of 3-6 pm, M-F. Only the GRC leader may request Simpson Center space. GRC members are responsible for setting up and cleaning up after events.
  • Speakers: The Simpson Center is happy to support local speakers and will reimburse for parking or transportation to campus and small honoraria. Restrictions apply to speakers not in the local area. Funds cannot be used to bring a speaker in if the speaker will require travel and hotel arrangements. Out of town speakers already visiting Seattle under the auspices of other projects may be pulled in as possibilities present themselves, but GRCs cannot use their budgets to make the initial plans.
  • Requesting Honoraria: Please request two weeks in advance, using this form and selecting the option to “request a payment to a person or company,” and attaching a letter of agreement (a template can be found here) from the GRC leader to the invited guest. Honoraria are sent by mail to the speaker’s home address. Note: honoraria cannot be given to UW faculty or employees.
  • Alcohol: If you wish to serve alcohol at your event, you must secure permission from the UW and the Washington State Liquor Control Board for your group. Both systems are online. Applicants must fill out the online forms at least 2 weeks in advance. Please do the following:

- Begin by reviewing UW Alcohol Guidelines and Policies.

- Request UW approval. Choose Monica Cohn, Simpson Center Administrator, as the sponsor when prompted. 

- When you receive UW approval, the approval email will instruct you to:

- Purchase the state issued Banquet Permit online for $10.

- Post both the approved UW application and the purchased State Liquor Control Board Banquet Permit in a conspicuous location at the meeting/event. (We use the fridge in the Simpson Center kitchen.)

  • Food: Please note that reimbursements for food and other expenses must go through the GRC leader. We cannot reimburse participants individually for costs related to GRC programming. If you host an outside caterer, you will need to secure a temporary food permit in advance. Pre-packaged food purchased from grocery stores does not require a food permit; nor does food purchased from UW caterers and service providers such as Bay Laurel, the UW Club, or Pagliacci Pizza. Your GRC may choose to go out after a working session or event. The GRC leader should pay the bill and then submit the receipt through our online form for reimbursement.
  • Publicity: There are several ways that the Simpson Center can help you publicize your events and meetings:

Events Calendar and Newsletter: We highly encourage listing events and meetings that are open to others on campus on our online publicity calendar. Try to list your event as soon as you've reserved a space. To submit an event, fill out the online form. Our events calendar also ties into our weekly events email, which reaches upwards of 5,000 email addresses, mostly at UW. To be included in the weekly email and be promoted across social media, events must be listed on our calendar AT LEAST one month before the event.

Social Media: We highly recommend creating an online presence. If you create a Facebook group, a Twitter account, and/or an Instagram account, the Simpson Center will be sure to like, follow and help promote your account and postings across our own social media channels. Aside from sharing information about your events, consider using your social media account as a place to share links to relevant readings and news in order to create an engaging space that extends the conversations you have during your meetings. If you do create such accounts, please let us know by emailing our Communications Manager at

Web Page: Each GRC has its own webpage on the Simpson Center website (see "Graduate Research Clusters" under "Programs"). If you would like to update your GRC's webpage with new information (including links to your social media pages, etc.), please send all requests to our Communications Manager at

Scholars at Work: We are always looking to include write-ups for our Scholars at Work These pieces typically run around 1,000 words and are a great opportunity to practice writing about your scholarly activity for a larger audience. Our Communications Manager frequently reaches out to GRC leaders looking for recaps of events or meetings that are of interest to the larger research public. If you have story ideas or events you want covered, please be in touch with our Communications Manager at

Print Publicity: While we do not produce print publicity such as flyers or programs for GRCs, we are happy to help distribute flyers you produce. Feel free to email a digital version of your flyer at least four weeks before your event to our Communications Manager at, who will ensure it’s distributed across our social media channels. If you create print materials and incur a cost, you can request reimbursement.

We ask that you acknowledge the support of the Simpson Center when and where appropriate.

- All reimbursement requests must come from the GRC leader.

- We reimburse purchases of physical goods (food, for example). All reimbursement requests must come through the Simpson Center online form.

- If you are using GRC funds to pay an individual (an honorarium, for example) or a company, do not pay upfront and submit for reimbursement afterwards. Use the online form to request payment to an individual or company.

- GRC funds will not cover travel and honoraria for speakers from outside the region. We encourage the co-sponsoring guest-speaker events organized by other campus units or holding an event in conjunction with a guest speaker’s visit sponsored by another unit (e.g., a GRC-specific lunch with another unit’s speaker). In these cases, the other unit should take the lead on budget processing. In such a case please contact our Administrator at to specify the amount that should be charged to your Simpson Center GRC budget.

- If you have budget questions, please contact our Administrator at for guidance.


Questions? Contact us:

Reserving Space:


Event Planning:

Budgets and Reimbursement:

All other questions: